Friday, August 14, 2009

Why I'll miss Reno 911, even though I rarely watched it

Poking my head out from the "Mad Men" season premiere haze for a few minutes (don't miss the part in the Jon Hamm interview where he says he loves you guys) to note the cancellation of "Reno 911," which, in the modern fashion of our time, was announced via a tweet by Thomas Lennon. (Ben Garant then followed that with a bridge-burning interview in which he says of Comedy Central, "I feel like I was in an abusive relationship that we were never gonna walk out of.")

Now, while I am a lover of almost all things related to "The State" (speaking of which, this week's "Michael and Michael Have Issues" was really funny), "Reno 911" was always something of a backup show for me. For reasons I can't quite explain, I always liked it when I watched it, and it was always a go-to show when I couldn't find anything else of interest, yet there was something missing for me that always made it the lowest priority on the DVR. If I had a Nielsen box, I suppose that would make me part of the reason why the show won't be coming back. But even though I didn't watch it as often as I could/should have, I'm sad to know that it won't be around anymore, because there were always at least three or four great laughs per episode.

So here's my question to you, which we can discuss between now and when Don Draper comes back on Sunday night: what shows, past or present, do you not watch all that regularly, but like knowing that they're out there for those moments when you're in the mood?

44 comments:

Austin said...

Easy answer to that one: Any and all Law & Orders fall into this category. I'm pretty sure I've never watched an episode when it originally aired for the first time. Never a show I will record to watch, but it's nice to know that I can find one just about any time of the day.

Eric said...

It's funny, I don't really have shows like that anymore. Pre-TiVo there were entire channels that served as background noise when there was nothing actually worth watching - CNN Headline News and MTV were my two main ones back in the day. Post-TiVo, my TV watching is distinct and discreet. And in the Fios era, since I can't hook up an external drive (and how about working on that, Verizon) i really don't keep things around that I may or may not watch.

I also find that as I get older I can no longer surf or read a book and follow a show with a plot at the same time, so I will switch to music to accompany those activities.

Jim said...

King of the Hill

So Cal said...

Lots of shows on Adult Swim for me:

Frisky Dingo
Venture Brothers
Aqua Teen Hunger Force

I really like these shows and even Tivo them alot, but am not always watching it.

Dave S said...

When I had cable, which ended a few months ago, Adult Swim shows were like that for me. Also, The Simpsons, which I haven't really watched in a long, long time. South Park and the Daily Show as well.

Hatfield said...

Adult Swim, absolutely, though I usually catch up on DVD. And Law & Order, all three versions. NCIS used to be that, but now I watch it as it airs.

I would add Psych and Monk to the list. And Big Bang Theory. It makes me laugh, but I don't feel compelled to watch it. Strange how that works.

Michael said...

Entourage

Anonymous said...

Letterman

april said...

I'd say The Family Guy. I've always liked the episodes I've watched, but I don't watch it weekly. South Park would be another though we do have a Season Pass and I choose not to watch every week. Also, anything on the Discovery Channel.

Andrew said...

The Daily Show.

I'm not a regular viewer. But if it ever got canceled, I think I'd ban Comedy Central.

Baylink said...

[politics category=opensource]
FiOS doesn't *want* to work on that for you, Eric; it would ruin their Lock-in.

Bet the box doesn't have a firewire connector on it either, so that you can use your Fair Use and Betamax rights to pipe it into a MythTV box and keep it forever...
[/politics]

For me, Alan, that show is presently House, which is somewhat embarassing...

Bookseller Bill said...

South Park. Haven't watched it regularly since the second or third season, but any time I see a random episode I love it.

Kensington said...

Gosh, King of Queens reruns are my emotional comfort food nowadays.

Also, I've never been a regular Gilmore girls viewer, but every time I stumble upon it, I'm there for the duration.

Otherwise, I'm always glad to know there's almost always an X-Files, Bones or House re-run not too far away, just in case.

I sense Monk is going to enter this realm soon, too.

Craig Ranapia said...

what shows, past or present, do you not watch all that regularly, but like knowing that they're out there for those moments when you're in the mood?

Definitely South Park and The Simpsons -- they're not exactly bad but the quality is so random, they're hardly appointment viewing, and since they're not serialised at all you're not missing anything if you don't watch it for months or stumble over a decade old re-run.

Rachel said...

I am also on the L&O train! SVU is my favorite version, but I'll take any of them.

Family Guy and South Park are in that category too. Make me laugh every time but I am just not compelled to tune in every week. I'm also an HGTV or Discovery nut, so those are always on as background.

I'm very sad about Reno and I hope to see the whole crew on my screen soon again!

Kensington said...

One of my favorite television trends of the last ten years is the marathon. I love discovering that some network is showing nothing but X for the next twelve hours. That's kind of how they got me with House, and it's an excellent technique for cultivating the sort of sentiment toward a show that this thread is revealing.

Anonymous said...

Ugh! Mad Men, Mad Men, Mad Men! I can't take it anymore and their season is just starting. Any chance you saw Tim Goodman's article this morning? The show is due for a major backlash.

But I did feel the same way about Reno 911. Watched it more in the early seasons, which were better imo. Its in syndication so I expect I'll continue to stumble across it now and then for years to come.

Phil Freeman said...

"Reno 911" was a "Holy crap, that was hilarious! How come we don't watch this all the time?" show for me and my wife for the last couple of years. The other ones are, as others have said, "Law & Order" (original recipe and SVU only, though; never quite got into CI) and "Bones."

Tina said...

Bones, for sure. And Scrubs.

ghoti said...

Important Things, World Series of Poker 2009, Good Eats, Jeopardy, PTI, Penn and Teller - Bulls@$t!, House Hunters, Live From the Actors Studio, The Closer, Later...With Jules Holland.

There are probably more.

I don't religiously watch these shows, but I would be upset if they were canceled.

Jack said...

This column makes think of "comfort TV" reruns when I'm traveling..:

Seinfeld
Angel
Will and Grace
House Hunters
Charmed

DolphinFan said...

It used to be either FRASIER or LAW & ORDER for me (and I'll still DVR the latter if the episode description is interesting). Now it's original CSI or HOUSE. I enjoy both shows, think they're superb when all pistons are firing, but if I miss them? That's not a cause for much sadness. None of them are at the NEVER-MISS level, for me, of THE OFFICE.

alynch said...

Law & Order (original only) used to be one of those for me, but it's last couple of seasons have been so good that it's back to appointment viewing. Hell, I'll probably go out of my way to watch it on Fridays this coming season.

I met get pelted with rocks for saying this, but the show that best qualifies as this type for me is How I Met Your Mother. I don't watch originals all that often (Mondays are a busy day for me), but when I have a free Monday night, I watch it and enjoy it but not enough to actively seek the show out.

Owen said...

King of the Hill

I loved Reno 911. I watched every episode. I kept expecting to get tired of it but I never did. Consistently, funny, funny stuff. I'm so grateful that it lasted as many seasons as it did. It's the kind of show that usually gets canceled right away. One of those rare shows that gets as many seasons as it deserves. RIP Reno 911, I will always love you.

srpad said...

Strangly the first show that popped into my head when you posed the question was Kim Possible. I watched may a dozen episodes total but when I did pop it on I was always entertained.
Also South Park. The heavy handed episodes can be tedious and I tend to skip those but stuff like Imaginationland is genius.

srpad said...

Oh...looking at some other people's posts I wanted to add Jeopardy. It used to be part of my routine many years ago and then I fell out of it and then came back for the Ken Jennings run and then out again but once in a while I like to watch during dinner and test myself and I would be sad if the opputunity to do that went away.

Alex Mullane said...

As a Brit the first thing that comes to mind at the moment is ITV show Primeval.

It's silly, pop-corn light entertainment, but it fills the time well enough on a Saturday evening. And just as the third series brought a rise in quality, it's been cancelled. Shame.

Also, most of the 'adult' cartoons (simpsons, fam guy, etc - although South Park i regard as essential).

Only saw Reno once, but I found it hillarious and me and my friend both resolved to watch it regularly. We never did. Sorry Reno, we have failed you.

Norm N. Conquest said...

I missed The Man from UNCLE in its original go-round, but religiously VCRed its 4am reruns on TNT or TBS six or seven years ago. It seemed like every old fart who ever guested on Murder She Wrote, Diagnosis Murder, Matlock or Golden Girls crossed paths with Solo and Ilya back when they were young and hot. The plots were stupid but always entertaining. And back in the ancient days of TV, nothing ever changed on a series, so you can watch them in random order without regard to story arcs, spoilers or continuity problems.

Anonymous said...

You will probably squirm when I write this. But in adition to king of queens, I also like to catch George Lopez and According to Jim occasionaly in syndication when I am in my non-intellectual moods. Just light, forgettable entertainment, but perfect for that moment.

Kensington said...

The King of Queens is first-rate; there's nothing to be ashamed of in liking it. It's better than your typical Fat-Guy/Hot-Wife show. I was quite pleasantly surprised to discover that.

As for George Lopez and According to Jim, I'm going to defend you there, too, not necessarily because they're both quality shows (they aren't, especially ATJ which can be quite monstrously awful at its worst) but because this thread isn't about defending greatness, just admitting attachment.

One of my dirty little secrets is that I sometimes find the longevity of ATJ kind of comforting. What can I say? Part of me likes the familiarity of long-time shows just because. It doesn't make a single "joke" from ATJ even slightly funnier or less witless, but dammit, there he is, day after day after day after day after day after day after day, like clockwork.

And I appreciate that.

So screw you, Jim Belushi, but thanks for being there.

Seriously. :-)

Jeremy said...

Isn't that kind of the definition of Scrubs?

The Engineer said...

For me, nothing. I can't even get into a show, unless I am hard-core, watch every episode, watch the previous season DVDs first. That is one reason I won't start the Family Guy, because I can't see myself trying to make up 200 or whatever episodes...

Grunt said...

Scrubs. 100%. I was even happy when it had it's extra season on ABC. Next year I'm not so sure about, but I'm sure I'll catch the reruns on Comedy Central as I do now. (Speaking of which, CC just today aired the pilot episode which isn't nearly as good as the show eventually became. Perhaps that's why I was never into it from the beginning)

rosengje said...

I have gotten into the dangerous habit of watching Angel and Charmed in the morning as I get ready for work. Dangerous because of how much I enjoy them. They remind me of my WB-drenched youth.

ZeppJets said...

Spin City
Just Shoot Me
Most Star Trek reincarnations

Pamela Jaye said...

miles behind here, but with Baylink on the They Don't Want You To Keep It front.

I still have analog cable which I will keep as long as I can. Anything digital can be encrypted - and when I can't save a recording of Scott Bakula, I'm going to be pissed.

When is House due out on DVD? I could really save some space on the DVR by dumping all those eps Baylink hasn't watched yet.

Aside from that, halfway thru comments, I have to agree that since the DVR has eliminated "surfing while rewinding" I hardly ever watch anything I don't mean to. and nothing at all that I'm not recording - unless I'm testing the tuner cards or there is a plane crash or something.
Live breaking news is about it.
Or whatever the roomie is surfing thru (last night, that was Scrubs (but I have the DVDs) and Iron Chef (artichokes. never seen the show before)

I have a different question - what show did you love but not watch in reruns cause you "have every episode on tape"?

IMO, this is the reason Ally McBeal didn't make it on FX, while The Practice (missed most of the first two seasons) and Buffy (I had my nose too high in the air to watch till I caught a really good *fanfic* in 2001) were running 2 eps twice a day by November.

Speaking of my nose, I haven't read Twilight, or Moonlight or whatever it is/are. Buffy had great dialog and Dark Shadows had great bloopers. Otherwise not into vampires.

Pamela Jaye said...

Marathons!

MythTV has no way to flag these and that's just annoying. I like marathons! (unless they are filling the DVR (cause they are still in my search (Joan of Arcadia, Tru Calling)) when I really need the space)

Pamela Jaye said...

As the Engineer said, I watch from the beginning, or I don't watch at all. Can't remember the last show about which that was not true. I'm holding Royal Pains in hopes they will replay the first 3 eps so I can see if I would like to watch it.

This applies to drama and comedy. Mystery Diagnosis I can watch at random, but I'm currently preferring Untold Stories of the ER.

And then there is the the train wreck that is Jon & Kate Plus 8. No promos - I saw the title and searched to find out what it was about. It was interesting for a while (though Kate was annoying quite early on) but after a while it was some new staged thing all the time and I skipped a lot of eps. Now there's DRAMA (but even then - when Kate started flirting with the guy from $Chopper I was bored and deleted the ep.)
I have since gone back to see her freak out over 3 year olds with gum.
Will I be sorry when it's canceled? Um... I've never watched a show to hate it before, but no. I'm hoping the extended 15 minutes of fame end soon. (I hear Octomom is getting a show. That one is just too ditsy to even get angry about. poor kids though.)

shara says said...

My name is Earl. I love that show, but have really only seen a tiny proportion of its episodes. But I definitely like knowing that its on, and its a show that I can generally come in at any point and enjoy.

Travis said...

Family Guy.

I used to be a huge fan, as in 'do not schedule anything on sunday evening in order to watch the new episode', but I changed cable companies twice and never could find the new chanel/time combination.

I just ended up buying the DVD set of season six (I think?) and finished it that way, and havent seen anything from the newest season, but I'll be buying the DVD set and having marathon viewing.

I'm always happy that they are still making new episodes, and I'll be sad when they stop, but I only watch a rerun if there's little else on.

Anthony Strand said...

Reno 911 is actually an example for me too. I own the first season because I found it for five dollars, but I've only seen scattered episodes after that. I always enjoyed it, but I never made a point to watch.

The first thing to come to mind, though, was Everybody Hates Chris. I think it's fairly remarkable how well it managed to use the conventions of the modern single-camera sitcom (cutaways, flashbacks, narration, surreal jokes) in the service of a traditional family sitcom. I watched the premiere, the finale, and many episodes in between, but I never made it part of my weekly viewing schedule. Now that it's gone, I wish I had. I always laughed at least a handful of times, and the characters have really stuck with me.

Craig Ranapia said...

Pamela Jaye wrote:
As the Engineer said, I watch from the beginning, or I don't watch at all.

Also, am I the only person for whom a lot of the shows I really like (such as 'Lost' and 'BSG' even 'Chuck' to some extent) are heavily serialised -- so you can't really dip in and out of them?

Anonymous said...

MASH, Roseanne, MASH, Stargate SG-1, MASH, Bones, MASH, any CSI franchise, MASH, most stuff on Investigation Discovery (FBI Files, The New Detectives, Solved). With current stuff, I either DVR it or I don't watch it. Oh, and did I mention MASH?

Narrim said...

MASH, Mythbusters, Dirty Jobs, How It's Made, The Daily Show, cartoons on Cartoon Network (Powerpuff Girls marathon last Monday; it's much better than background noise)...

Thinking on it, I'm very sad History Channel's no longer about history shows and The Weather Channel has actual programs clogging up the airtime. As a kid, when I wasn't tuning into the Disney afternoon, random Nicktoons, or various game shows, I was watching The Weather Channel. Just watching them talk about weather around the country and enjoying the light jazzy music from Local on the 8's. Michelin Man commercials with babies in tires and celebrations when TWC would show weather outside the country were part of my youth.

Another one I miss is the 5AM Star Spangled Banner on FOX. I used to wake up extra early to watch that. I don't think they do it anymore and I dearly miss it.